ARC Review: Frostblood by Elly Blake

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Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable, and she’s not sure she’s willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon.

All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part in the king’s tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love.

Fast-paced and compelling, Frostblood is the first in a page-turning new young adult three-book series about a world where flame and ice are mortal enemies—but together create a power that could change everything.

review4/5 Stars 

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

This year is already shaping up to be one of my best reading years. I’ve read 8 books so far  and I have not been disappointed. Frostblood is the book you’re going to hear about and will become an instinctive recommendation to anyone and everyone you know because it’s epic. 

How I love this book, let me count the ways:

World Building. A blend of dizzying and addictive folklore mixes with myth and elemental magic. The stories of the gods and goddesses are sweeping, dark, and have that campfire-tale quality that sucks you in and refuses to let go. Wow. These stories themselves would make an amazing companion for the series. I’d love to have a collection. And they keep coming. They’re a solid foundation that keeps giving as the story progresses. There are layers of world building. The first is myth, the second is this terrifying world of witch-hunt style persecution and violence. AND then a gladiator-like battle in an area. I don’t know what else you could possibly want, this is all sorts of epic. 

Ruby. As a main character, she’s unexpected. Filled with doubts, insecurity and yet, thirsting for revenge, she’s not the typical heroine. Her drive is largely to pay back those who destroyed her world and make them suffer. That vehement determination is something else. At the same time, her heart is tested. She learns compassion and to care in new and surprising ways. Everything that Ruby is is tempted. Darkness beckons her and she must decide between darkness and light. That conflict is written so well. She truly wars within. 

Arcus. There’s some serious star-crossed lovers going on here. He’s not what you’d picture as a love interest. Cold, dismissive, scarred, and gruff. He’s not your typical flirty hot guy. He’s got an air of mystery, but for the most part her’s serious, seems much older than his years. Arcus will grow on you. His focus, the way he fights through his icy exterior, how he doesn’t know how to process his emotions…I mean, he’s the kind of character you tilt your head to the side, raise an eyebrow and examine-a puzzle. 

Romance. It’s soft, subtle, and hits hard when it does. There’s definitely a love-hate, comparative fight against the attraction. It’s spirited, intriguing, and the banter, yes, give me more of that. Fire and ice. Who knew it could be so steamy? 😉 

Secondary characters. Everyone in the abbey left an impression. From the good guys to the bad ones. The presence is there. The adrenaline high. No one can be fully trusted. A character who had a fairly important part, Marella, was a wishy-washy, almost forgettable character despite her pretty regular appearance near the end of the book. Rasmus!!! OMG. Yes. A complex villain with a twisted and heartbreaking background. I felt for him. The revelations about his character are short, blunt, and leave you reeling. His evil is there. He’s vile, violent, and glorifies others’ pain, but whether he would truly be that way without the influence of the throne leaves him questionable. And for some strange reason, he’s oddly sexy, maybe even more so than Arcus. I only wish he was present sooner.

The Arena. Flashbacks to Gladiator. “Are you entertained?” I certainly was. The mythical and beastly creatures, it was a rush.

The story leaves room for a sequel and I cannot wait. The resolution was hard to come by. There was a great level of uncertainty that the good would win. I loved that. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Keep reading, 

Jordan

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ARC Review: Poison’s Kiss by Breeana Shields

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Release Date: Jan 10, 2017

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A teenage assassin kills with a single kiss until she is ordered to kill the one boy she loves. This commercial YA fantasy is romantic and addictive like– a poison kiss– and will thrill fans of Sarah J. Maas and Victoria Aveyard.

Marinda has kissed dozens of boys. They all die afterward. It s a miserable life, but being a visha kanya a poison maiden is what she was created to do. Marinda serves the Raja by dispatching his enemies with only her lips as a weapon.

Until now, the men she was ordered to kiss have been strangers, enemies of the kingdom. Then she receives orders to kiss Deven, a boy she knows too well to be convinced he needs to die. She begins to question who she s really working for. And that is a thread that, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose.

This rich, surprising, and accessible debut is based in Indian folklore and delivers a story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

review

4/5 Stars 

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Random House Books for Young Readers

Poison’s Kiss is a sweeping and thrilling journey into rich Indian folklore. Full of mystery, intrigue, a reluctant assassin, and gods, Poison’s Kiss is an adventure that will leave you hungry for more. 

PROS: 

  • Poison’s Kiss is a blend of Northern and Southern Indian legends, with a twist. In this world, based on India, the gods of folklore are spoken of in whispers, they’re on coins, they’re known by the masses, but more of as a hazy bedtime story. As someone who knows very little of Indian lore besides the main stories related to religion, this was epic. It’s whimsical and dark. There’s a sinister and revered undercurrent that runs throughout the story that keeps you on edge for the unexpected. I loved that the culture was just present. It wasn’t knock-you-over-the-head, explanations all over the place. From the food, to the clothing, to the bustling markets and snake charmers. You become immersed fast and it will consume you. 
  • Visha kanya. Poison maidens. This takes the idea to a whole new level. The poison becomes a vicious and deadly part of the maiden’s body. A kiss that kills. The process, how the poison takes hold, the connection to snakes, everything is elaborate and terrifying and absolutely addictive. 
  • Marinda grew on me. At first, I wasn’t sold on her. She takes forever to figure things out, she is defiant, she puts herself in danger, she doesn’t think and rushes in. There’s nothing that drives me nuts worse than someone who doesn’t take a second to think. But Marinda is incredibly brave, compassionate, and will do anything for her brother, who is not even hers by blood, but he’s the only thing that helps her keep her humanity after so much death and destruction. The guilt consumes her. The toll of killing, knowing what the poison does, it breaks her despite the knowledge that she is doing something for the greater good. Marinda doesn’t want to be what she is, but she has no choice. The danger is so high and she knows the consequences of trying to escape her keeper. Marinda has a beautiful heart. She genuinely loves and gives that love to her brother, no matter how down she is. Scenes from her childhood and how she became a visha kanya are brutal and heartbreaking. 
  • Not all villains are wholly evil. The characters are complex. Their beliefs are deeply rooted and not everyone is what they seem. Gopal is a true villain. He’s sadistic, horrible, and the carnage he leaves behind, it’s the stuff of nightmares. Kadru, she’s super creepy, otherworldly, and vicious. Those snakes, chills. 
  • Devin’s charm is in how much he cares. It doesn’t matter that he’s hot, it’s his heart. The way he treats Mani is enough to make any girl fall for him. 

CONS:

  • I wish there would have been a more in-depth look at the various gods and how they featured in the culture at their height. The main character knows pretty much nothing about them because she was so sheltered, so that’s a big blank for the reader as well. A little more world building would have solidified each of these figures, their strengths, their weaknesses, and how they relate to the world as it is now. 
  • The romance was so-so. On one hand, I liked that it wasn’t so centered on the falling. On the other hand, I would have liked more build up. Near the end it feels rushed and clumsy. I mean the surge of emotion. Sure after everything they’ve been through emotions are off the charts, but it bordered on instalove because of how it’s slammed into the story at the end. There were some cute interactions before everything fell apart though.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Epic reading, 

Jordan

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Dark Goddess by Amalie Howard

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EXPECTED RELEASE: JULY 4, 2017

by Sky Pony Press

synAfter an epic struggle that unseated the Asura Lord of Death and placed Serjana Caelum’s best friend, Kyle, on his throne, the Mortal Realm is peaceful and the balance between good and evil—which Sera is sworn to protect—has been restored.

But signs of a new threat to the world of men quickly begin to appear: A scourge of demons descends on the Mortal Realm, and Sera is beside herself trying to locate their source. She sends word to the gods for help, and their answer comes in the form of Kira, the living incarnation of Kali, goddess of destruction.

Stunning and dangerous, Kira plans to protect the heavens at all cost, even if it means destroying the entire Mortal Realm. Soon Sera and Kyle find themselves fighting not just the demon plague, but Kira and her twin. But when an even more sinister threat arises—putting not just the human world but all planes of existence in jeopardy—they must all learn to work together or lose everything they sacrificed so much to save.

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Without a backward glance, she closed her eyes and jumped into the midst of the blue-black pool, the sticky fluid sucking her body down to its depths like some kind of ravenous beast. As it devoured her, Sera’s mind emptied of all thought…and of all memory as she plummeted into the space where love would be nothing but weakness. She’d learned that the hard way. She stripped away all emotion, all empathy.

It was time to become the monster. 

BOOK ONE IN THE SERIES: ALPHA GODDESS
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author

 Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

AMALIE HOWARD grew up in Trinidad & Tobago where she spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees, and dreaming of adventure. 25 countries, surfing with sharks, and several tattoos later, she has traded in bungee jumping in China for writing the adventures she imagines instead. She isn’t entirely convinced which takes more guts.

An aspiring writer from a young age, Amalie’s poem “The Candle,” written at age twelve, was published by the University of Warwick press. At fifteen, she was  a recipient of a Royal Commonwealth Society Essay Award (a global youth writing competition). A Colby College graduate, she completed dual Honors Theses in both French and International Studies, and graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. At Colby, she was cited for her research contribution to Raffael Scheck’s article, “German Conservatism and Female Political Activism in the Early Weimar Republic,” and his subsequent book, Mothers of the Nation. She also received a distinction in English Literature from the University of Cambridge (A-levels) as well as a postgraduate certificate in French Literature from the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, France. Traveling the globe, she has worked as a research assistant, account executive, and global channel sales director for a Fortune 500 company.

She is the award-winning author of several young adult novels critically acclaimed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, SLJ, VOYA, and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Spring 2014 Kid’s INDIE NEXT title. Her debut novel, Bloodspell, was a #1 Amazon bestseller, and the sequel, Bloodcraft, was a national silver IPPY medalist and a silver Moonbeam award winner. She is also the co-author of the adult historical romance series, THE LORDS OF ESSEX. As an author of color and a proud supporter of diversity in fiction, her articles on multicultural fiction have appeared in The Portland Book Review and on the popular Diversity in YA blog. She currently resides in Colorado with her husband and three children.

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Mythic reading, 

Jordan

Cover Reveal, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Choosing Eternity by K.T. Webb

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The Evolved (Book 1)

Thatcher Kline has a fiery personality. His life sucks and he isn’t interested in talking to anyone, let alone helping them. Despite his thoughts on the matter, fate has another plan; Thatcher has a secret but when he meets a handful of others with similar secrets he’s catapulted into a dangerous and ancient battle.

The Evolved are the final descendants of the Old Immortals. Their super powers not only make them freaks but also make them the only people who can save the world. Together with their remaining ancestors they must discover who they are, the prophecies that guide their lives, and face a terrifying enemy.

Growing Hope (Book 2)

Tahlia is a mystery, she has no memory of her life before she joined the Old Immortals, but they begin to remember a life before her.

The legend is that she was locked away in the golden sphere with the evils of the world. When Pandora released the Maladies on an unsuspecting world, she also released Tahlia, the spirit of hope personified, and altered the course of humanity forever.

Despite their still-healing wounds, the Evolved have embraced their mission. They’ve spent the last five years cleaning up after their battle with Absalom, but now they are discovering that new enemies are stepping out of the shadows. In order for the Maladies to drown humanity in their darkness they must first snuff out the light.

Choosing Eternity (Book 3)

Nora never asked to lead an army. She never asked to risk everything to ensure the survival of the world. But, when a bloody battle is inevitable and everyone looks to her for guidance, she realizes her decision is easy.  

As they face the return of the strongest evil ever to exist, the Evolved must expose long-held secrets and forge alliances to strengthen their cause. They quickly discover this is an enemy they are not meant to fight and have to overcome the obstacles he puts in their way to keep them from bringing back the only person who can.

The final prophecies are coming to pass, death is all around them, and they face uncertainty at every turn. 

guest

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who preferred to spend her time reading a book rather than socializing with other kids. That little girl dreamed of becoming a writer. She had so many fun ideas but never decided on a story that felt like it really needed to be told, until one morning when she was twenty-two.

A crazy dream led to multiple crazier conversations with her mother. The dream eventually began to take shape into a story…..and I’m bored now.

So, that’s me in a nutshell. I was never a social person. I actually got in trouble in high school for skipping lunch to read in the library. The first book in my series, The Evolved, was inspired by a dream I had about a guy who could control mechanical devices with his mind. Oddly enough, you won’t meet any characters in these books with that particular ability.

The characters who have been talking to me for the last eight years are a quirky bunch. Many of them share personality traits with me or people I know. One of my favorite things about these characters is that they tell me how the story is supposed to go. I know, that sounds completely nuts, but it’s the truth. I can sit down and write an outline, but when I start writing, anything goes.

My books incorporate many mythological, historical and religious stories. I had a blast weaving those things together and creating an all new take on familiar figures and legends. Many of the supporting characters are representations of the gods and goddesses of every religious or mythological tradition. I have always been fascinated by the similarities found in the stories told in very different parts of the world. There has to be a common thread that ties them all together. That’s where my story began.

The Evolved sets the stage for the rest of the series by giving just enough background information to make readers wonder what’s going on. The characters discover who they are and what they’ve been tasked with. Growing Hope dives deeper into where they came from and what they’re fighting for. Choosing Eternity pulls it all together and brings them to the ending they’ve been working towards.

I made the decision to re-brand and relaunch the first two books in the series because I didn’t feel like the covers were attracting the young readers that the books were written for. I took a look at the covers that make me want to read a book and realized how very different my covers were from the ones that attracted me. I hired a fantastic cover designer and we made covers that I think really fit the feeling I was looking for!

I can’t wait to share this wild ride with new readers!

authKT Webb

KT Webb is a big city girl living in small town South Dakota. Although she was born in Michigan, most of her younger years were spent between the suburbs of Chicago. Moving to South Dakota was a big change, and she never would have guessed she’d fall in love and decide to stay. She has been married to her wonderful husband since 2006 and they have two beautiful children ages 7 and 4.

KT has been writing for as long as she can remember and always dreamed of becoming a published author. She loves to create stories that make readers look at things differently and question reality; which is probably why she tends to write paranormal or fantasy novels.

She is a firm believer in the power of redemption, second chances, and that magic surrounds us every day if we know where to look. KT is a goofy and fun-loving person and is often described as snarky, bold and brash.

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In order to enter to win the giveaway, sign up for K.T.’s newsletter. Anyone who signs up between August 2nd and August 6th will be eligible to win. The winner will be chosen randomly.

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Magical reading, 

Jordan

Cover Reveal: Hypnos by Eva Pohler

Release Date: August 9th, 2016

synHypnos and Jen aren’t married long when they realize something’s missing: they both want to have a child, especially when they see how happy Therese and Than are with their twins. But the creation of new gods is against the rules, and they aren’t willing to give up their immortality. So Hypnos goes to Mount Olympus to offer Zeus a deal. He’ll make it his mission to find out the source of the recent attacks on Gaia–horrible earthquakes that have already released one monster from the Titan Pit–if Zeus will agree to let him and Jen have one immortal child.
 
Because the attacks are getting humans killed and none of the other gods have been able to discover a lead, Zeus, in his desperation, agrees. But this new quest just might get Hypnos swallowed and trapped for all eternity.
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Eva Pohler recently retired from a twenty-year position teaching writing and literature at a university in San Antonio, where she lives with her husband and three kids. Now a full-time writer, she’s the author of The Mystery Book Collection and three series for young adults: The Gatekeeper’s Saga, The Purgatorium Series, and The Vampires of Athens. Her books have been described as “thrilling” and “addictive.” A Kirkus reviewer said of The Gatekeeper’s Sons that it was “sure to thrill Hunger Games fans.”
A reader herself, Eva writes in multiple genres, but all of her stories blur the line between reality and fantasy, truth and delusion, and draw from Eva’s personal philosophy that a reader must be lured and abducted into complete captivity in order to enjoy the reading experience.
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Magical reading, 
Jordan

Cover Reveals: Inspire & Inflict-Cora Carmack

We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the dual cover reveal for Cora Carmack’s Muse Series! INSPIRE and INFLICT are New Adult Paranormal Romance novels and are book 1 and 2 in the Muse Series. INFLICT is due to be released in January 2016! These beautiful covers were designed by Regina Wamba of Mae I Design. Be sure to grab your copy of INSPIRE today!

Inspire - coverAmazon/Goodreads

synKalliope lives with one purpose.

To inspire.

As an immortal muse, she doesn’t have any other choice. It’s part of how she was made. Musicians, artists, actors—they use her to advance their art, and she uses them to survive. She moves from one artist to the next, never staying long enough to get attached. But all she wants is a different life— a normal one. She’s spent thousands of years living lie after lie, and now she’s ready for something real.

Sweet, sexy, and steady, Wilder Bell feels more real than anything else in her long existence. And most importantly… he’s not an artist. He doesn’t want her for her ability. But she can’t turn off the way she influences people, not even to save a man she might love. Because in small doses, she can help make something beautiful, but her ability has just as much capacity to destroy as it does to create. The longer she stays, the more obsessed Wilder will become. It’s happened before, and it never turns out well for the mortal.

Her presence may inspire genius.

But it breeds madness, too.

And check out the gorgeous cover for INFLICT, coming January 2016!Inflict -coverGoodreadssynWilder Bell made a dangerous bargain…

For a chance at love, he gave up his life.

History knew Kalliope as an ancient Greek muse, but to Wilder, she was simply the woman he wanted to fall asleep with every night and wake up next to every morning. He made a deal with Hades, but the only thing the Lord of the Underworld deals in is death. Now Wilder is wasting away in a cold and wretched afterlife, waiting for Kalli to come for him. She will come. He has to believe that. Because the alternative is worse than death.

Kalliope lived her entire existence knowing that she was both a blessing and a curse to anyone she encountered. Wilder was no different. She loved him, and she got him killed. Now to get him back, she’ll have to face a scheming god, a perilous task, and death itself. But before it’s done, the Underworld will take more from her than she ever thought possible.

To be made whole, all must first be lost.

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Cora Carmack - author pic

Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She’s done a multitude of things in her life– boring jobs (like working retail), fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). Raised in a small Texas town, she now lives in New York City and spends her time writing, traveling, and marathoning various television shows on Netflix. In her books, you can expect to find humor, heart, and a whole lot of awkward. Because let’s face it . . . awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

Website/Twitter/Facebook/Newsletter/Author Goodreads

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Keep reading,

Jordan

Release Day Blitz & ARC Review Preview: Omega-Lizzy Ford

Omega_fb“Omega,” a young adult dystopia with Greek gods by Lizzy Ford, is now available! Grab it today! All proceeds from release day sales are being donated to charity!OmegaAmazon/Amazon UK/Barnes and NobleiBooks/Kobo/Smashwords/Goodreads

synIn a modern world ruled by territorial Greek gods, the human race has been oppressed, exploited and now, nearly destroyed by the constant infighting of gods.

However, a human girl with the power of a goddess is coming of age. Alessandra is the Oracle of Delphi – the last prophesized – and bears the mark of the double omega. Soon after she turns eighteen, Alessandra is told her destiny: to step between the warring gods and the human race and save her world from certain ruin.

For the gods, her appearance marks the beginning of the end – their end. They and the Triumvirate – leaders of the human elite – who serve them will stop at nothing to preserve their power.

Alessandra emerges from the forest where she spent her life hidden from gods and men and immediately plummets into a race against time, gods, and herself to discover who and what she is in a world where everyone she meets has a hidden agenda, and those pulling the strings remain in the shadows.

Before she can determine exactly what kind of savior her world needs, she must first master her power by completing three trials devised by the Triumvirate to enslave her.

One lone girl stands between warring gods and the people she’s destined to protect, but it’s the battle to understand who she is that she must win first.

review4/5 Stars

***I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of Omega in exchange for an honest review via the author

Omega is an enchanting spin on mythology meets dystopia. Magical, captivating, and all sorts of awesome, Omega is an unforgettable and intoxicating read. Get ready to fall in love with the sweet ambrosia that is Alessandra’s story. 

For the full review, check back on November 4 for a special look at teasers, fav quotes, and an indepth pros and cons list 🙂 

Magical reading, 

Jordan